Finding a set of budget-priced studio monitors is easier than ever. But, with so many choices it can be difficult to find the exact set that is right for your needs. In this review, we check out an impressive set of monitors from Alesis that has a lot to offer budget conscience producers.
Alesis Elevate 5 MKII
The Alesis Elevate 5 MkII combines a range of excellent features at a cheap price. Let’s see what it has to offer.
The Alesis Elevate 5 MkII has some distinct features that set it apart from other budget monitors. Let’s dive into the details to see what it does well and where it falls short.
The Elevate 5 MkII offers impressive sound quality. Once you factor in the aggressive price point it’s one of the best sounding speakers in the market.
The balance between frequencies is well established with a distinct neutral sound. Excellent for beginner producers looking to set up a studio on a budget.
The low end is clean and distinct without any boominess. The added Bass Boost option also allows you to give it an extra bit of oomph. A great inclusion for general listening.
Mids are also well defined. They sit comfortably within the soundscape and don’t present any muddy tones. Instruments are crisp and clear.
Highs are also impressive thanks to the elliptical tweeter waveguide. This ensures smooth delivery and good dispersion for higher frequencies.
The combination of all three presents an attractive and pleasant listening experience. Without succumbing to an exaggerated waveform that many PC speakers use.
This performance is consistent across most volume levels. But, at higher volumes, the cracks do start to show. The clarity suffers and the impressive balance isn’t as well defined. Despite this one shortfall the Alesis Elevate 5 MkII delivers in the sound department.
Budget-priced monitors often suffer from poor quality control and build quality. That is not the case with the Elevate 5 MkII.
The custom cabinet feels solid and dependable. It also does an excellent job of handling the low frequencies. Despite the rugged feel of the cabinet, the combined weight of the monitors is just 12.5 lbs (5.67kg). The textured front also prevents fingerprints and scratches.
The Alesis Elevate 5 MKII offer impressive build quality at its price point.
Component quality is also good with clean and precise construction. The shielding is also another excellent element. Placement next to other electrical gear is fine with no interference present. There is a low yet audible dispersion present when using RCA cables. This is often the case even with more expensive speakers.
The only complaint I have is with the included cables. As expected at this price point they are not the best. If you want to get the most out of these monitors I would recommend an upgrade.
The Alesis Elevate 5 MkII deploys a 5-inch woofer with dual forward-facing bass ports. This delivers a great low-end response. An ideal setup for placement next to you laptop or PC monitor. You won’t need to worry about low-end build-up due to proximity to walls.
The Alesis Elevate 5 MKII has plenty of depth in its frequency range.
The 1-inch silk dome tweeter delivers crisp highs. Amplified via the elliptical waveguide. It spreads the high frequencies evenly for a more balanced and satisfying sound.
The Elevate 5 MkII offers 80W of power. 40W per channel. These powered monitors are capable and can get quite loud. It’s more than enough for a small studio and does a decent job in a medium-sized space.
One drawback is the lack of any defined tuning options. While it is hard to expect much from a budget monitor it’s something I always look out for. Each studio space offers unique challenges. Having access to some basic tuning options can eliminate or suppress some of the most common issues.
But, the Bass Boost option is a nice addition. While not applicable to production work it does allow these to also serve as very capable monitors for general listening.
The Alesis Elevate 5 MkII is an attractive-looking set of speakers. The clean lines and distinct textured finish add a level of professionalism to these budget monitors.
The beveled edge offers a gloss finish which helps break up the textured finish just enough. The exposed drivers look the part. The added piano black accents around the drivers further accentuate the form factor.
The textured and gloss finish is a visually pleasing combination.
The Elevate 5 MkII doesn’t come in any other colors. If you are not a fan of all black speakers you’ll need to look at other options. I normally like a splash of color to give monitors some added life. But, the balance here between textures is enough to satisfy.
A great-looking pair of monitors that will be able to integrate into any studio space.
The Elevate 5 MkII is a little taller than other 5-inch monitors. If you have a cramped workspace this may prove to be an issue. Width and depth hover around the average size of comparable monitors.
The Alesis Elevate 5 MKII is light enough for bookshelf placement.
At 12.5 lbs (5.67kg) they are light. Many other 5-inch monitors push up to 11lbs for a single unit. This makes these monitors an excellent option if you want to place them on shelving.
The Alesis Elevate 5 MkII offers a conservative yet functional set of connection options.
You’ll have access to RCA and ¼-inch TRS connections. Where possible always aim to connect via the balanced TRS connection. This helps deliver better sound quality. It also alleviates any cable interference issues.
The Alesis Elevate 5 MKII offers both balanced and unbalanced connection options.
Another interesting change is the use of a TRS connection between the two monitors. Other budget speakers often rely on speaker wires. While fine, classic speaker wires can be fiddly so I’m happy to see Alesis use TRS instead.
The primary speaker also offers a ⅛-inch headphone port. A nice addition if you also want to use these for gaming as part of your PC setup.
The Alesis Elevate 5 MkII offers extremely good value for money. 5-inch monitors can be expensive. Budget 5-inch monitors often fall short in the quality department. What Alesis has managed to provide is an affordable set of monitors that retain good build quality.
While not stacked with features the connectivity and sound quality are impressive at this price point. If you are on a budget these have a lot to offer.
What Others Have To Say
Alesis is a well-respected brand that delivers good products. The Elevate 5 MkII is a popular choice for budget-minded producers. Many producers also recommend using 5-inch monitors as long as your room is properly treated.
Can You Mix With Cheap Computer Speakers?
Often when discussing cheap studio monitors PC speakers enter the options list. There are a lot of speaker brands that produce affordable PC speakers. Often these can even include extras like Bluetooth connectivity. Some even offer 2.1 or 5.1 systems at an aggressively low price.
While these speakers are excellent for general listening they will fall short if producing is your goal. These speakers will have the “smiley-face” curve in the EQ. This places extra emphasis on the low and high end. Satisfying to listen to but extremely difficult to mix with.
PC speakers are no match to studio monitors when it comes to mixing.
When fine-tuning your productions you’ll want a neutral response. This is where studio monitors shine. They will allow you to listen to your creation in its purest form. This allows you to adjust and alter your mix accordingly. You’ll be able to pick up on issues and resolve them without the interference of colored sound.
Some cheap studio monitors still struggle with balance. But, they will always be miles ahead of PC speakers. If you are a beginner it may be worth saving up a bit more for better monitors. But, if you are eager to get started don’t fall into the trap of buying flashy PC speakers. They won’t be up to the task you need them for.
There are plenty of alternatives available to the Alesis Elevate 5 MkII. Here are some other studio monitors worth considering.
Mackie CR4-X Review
If you prefer a more compact set of budget monitors the CR4-X from Mackie is a solid alternative. It offers a unique and distinct appearance at a good price.
- Good sound quality and reasonable frequency balance.
- Attractive and distinct green styling making it a statement piece in your studio.
- An affordable price point that is on par with the Alesis Elevate 5 MkII.
Read our full Mackie CR4-X review for more detailed information.
PreSonus Eris E5 Review
PreSonus is another brand that offers a good range of entry-level studio monitors. The 5-inch Eris is a popular and capable monitor.
- The excellent neutral response is ideal for producing.
- Offers tuning option to refine the sound to your studio space.
- The low-end response is a little soft.
Read our full PreSonus Eris E5 review for more detailed information.
Presonus Eris E5
Yamaha HS5 Review
If budget is not a concern the Yamaha HS5 is one of the best sounding 5-inch studio monitors currently available.
- Excellent clarity and neutral response that is even more refined than the Elevate 5 MkII.
- Durable build quality and excellent components. Built to last.
- Substantially more expensive than the Alesis option.
Read our full Yamaha HS5 review for more detailed information.
Should You Buy?
The Alesis Elevate 5 MkII is a solid set of budget studio monitors. The balance is very good and the build quality is excellent at this price point. And that is where they shine. They are an affordable set of studio monitors. Monitors can be expensive. If you are a beginner or on a budget the Alesis Elevate 5 MkII is a great choice. Especially when compared to PC speakers.
Alesis Elevate 5 MKII